Confined spaces can be found in many different workplaces and worksites. Storage tanks, grain silos, manholes, tunnels, storage bins, ductwork, even open-top chambers like swimming pools can be dangerous confined spaces.
Confined spaces are any spaces that are not necessarily designed for people but are large enough for workers to enter. These spaces also have limited or restricted means for entry or exit and are not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces claim 90-100 workers’ lives a year in the United States and an average of 15 lives in the UK.
Sadly, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that as many as 60% of those killed in confined incidents are would-be rescuers, often coworkers who have no idea they are entering a hazardous environment.
Since deaths in confined spaces often occur because the atmosphere is oxygen-deficient, toxic, or combustible, confined spaces that contain or have the potential to contain a serious atmospheric hazard should be classified as permit-required confined spaces and should be tested prior to entry and continually monitored.
This Confined Space Entry Procedures Checklist can help you determine if you are taking the necessary steps to protect employees from the dangers of confined spaces.